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Archive for the ‘Finance Law’ Category

How to Budget for a Court Case

September 18, 2013 by admin No Comments »

“Budgeting is something which all solicitors by now ought to know is intended to be integral to the process from the start, and it ought not to be especially onerous to prepare a final budget for a CMC (Case Management Conference ) even at relatively short notice if proper planning has been done…….The court must now, as part of dealing with cases justly, ensure that cases are dealt with at proportionate cost and so as to ensure compliance with rules, orders and practice direction……The stricter approach under the Jackson reforms have been central to this judgment…..”

These words (delivered on 1 August 2013) of High Court judge Master McCloud take us straight to where budgeting is in cases of civil litigation at the current moment. At the very heart of litigation of course, following the implementation of the new rules governing civil procedures as recommended by Lord Justice Jackson and which became law 1 April 2013. Central to these new procedures are new rules on costs budgets and costs management. Essentially these are that:

  1. Each party must prepare a costs budget in a standard form, setting out details of the costs incurred to date and the estimated future costs of the litigation.
  2. The court will consider and approve the costs budget. This is set to be done relatively early in the proceedings, usually the first case management conference.
  3. The court then oversees the case to ensure it complies with the agreed costs budget.

So five months on, it is hardly surprising that Master McCloud adopted such a robust attitude to endorsing the reforms. Most lawyers have known of their coming since 2010. No excuses were allowed from the seemingly feckless lawyers for former chief whip Andrew Mitchell M.P. His libel case against The Sun publishers New Group Newspapers now looked pear-shaped, all because they had failed to comply with an order to file their costs budget, prior to the case hearing in June. That failure to comply with the now much more stringent regulations meant the Mitchell claim would be limited to a budget consisting of the applicable court fees for his claim. However,  leave to appeal was granted so this test case is not finished. What it does make clear is that strict budgeting and tight costs management is now the guiding ethos of the court system. The new regime has already been piloted in defamation cases and in the Mercantile Courts and Technology and Construction Court. Several have reached the Court of Appeal. The new rules now apply to most civil cases: although high value commercial cases remain exempt at present it is expected that the tighter costs management will extend there soon.

Certainly a major objective of the Jackson reforms was to curb ever growing costs of legislation and their uncertainty. Part of the new rules emphasised that costs of the case must be proportionate to the claim. For would-be litigants uncertainties over costs, especially for losing parties open to paying the winning side’s costs, have always been the hardest thing to budget for. The reforms have certainly attempted to address this difficulty; from now costs recoverable by the winning party will be linked to the court-approved budget. That this must be done early in the proceedings (each side submitting its first six weeks before the first case management conference) will make for greater confidence of litigants on both sides. That  budgets are reached through the collaboration of both parties and of the judge, should aid transparency in costs awards at the end of the case. A ruling of the Court of Appeal earlier this year helps set out the new ethos:

“The management of costs is the responsibility of all parties to the litigation, and ultimately, of the court as well. The court has a responsibility to manage the proceedings, so it also has a responsibility for managing the costs of those proceedings.

The starting point must be that an approved costs budget is intended to provide “the financial limits within which the proceedings are to be conducted’. They are intended to provide some constraint”.

Although there is much uncertainty ahead as with any new system, the ethos seems secure. Costs budgeting and costs management will be the driving forces in civil litigation. The rules are there for all lawyers to follow and to advise their clients accordingly.  Master McCloud’s strict interpretation of the rules suggests any one failing to do so can expect little leniency. Now that the rules are in place for budgeting, how to do that budget is much easier and clearer.

This post was written by Anne Evans at Vannin Capital. A UK company offering litigation funding for insolvency. For more information, visit the site.

 

Compliance: a Legal Career for the Financial Professional

July 17, 2013 by admin No Comments »

The last few years have seen the banking sector under media and governmental scrutiny like never before. In the wake of numerous scandals such as with mis-sold PPI, and the banks’ actions during the financial crisis the last several years, there has been increased transparency, regulation and scrutiny imposed upon the activities of the banking sector.  Due diligence and compliance have suddenly become very important.  There is more importance added to checking banking transactions and business dealings to ensure that they are in line with regulations, and ensuring that everything is done correctly.

In such an era, compliance and related are specialist career fields with stable prospects. Working as part of a small, specialist, dynamic and close knit team in ensuring that the bank’s actions are carried out in a prescribed manner, and staying informed of changes to rules and procedures can be very attractive to the right high calibre individual.

In compliance, you will be checking and keeping up to date with current legislation and regulations, and advising both the financial institution and clients. Additionally, compliance professionals ensure that all financial transactions and deals are done according to rules, both internal bank rules, and regulations imposed by watchdogs such as the Financial Conduct Authority.

In this specialist career field, legal knowledge an be very useful. Not only does it give analytical and problem solving skills that are necessary for the role, but it also gives knowledge and insight to be able to advise the bank and clients, and to ensure that everything is done correctly, and in line with regulations. In law, it is important to keep up to date with legislation and court judgements, and changes in legal practice and theory. It is the same in compliance; especially today, there are a lot of regulations and legislation that are or will be changed and updated. There are also a range of agencies (FCA, FPA, and the SFO, to name but a few), in the UK and in the EU who are involved in scrutinising and overseeing bank activities, to ensure that the excesses of the industry of previous years are not repeated.

Another aspect of a compliance role is risk. Assessing the regulatory and reputation risk of financial deals and transactions is down to a compliance specialist to minimise the financial institutions’ exposure to such risk. Such a role is ideal for someone with a legal background, as law similarly involves minimising legal risk to both clients and company.

Compliance involves supporting and advising both the bank and clients. Often, such advise is given to senior management, so good presentation skills and a confident approach is necessary Most- but by no means all- compliance entry level roles are open to graduates, of any discipline. Obviously, a work or education background in finance, accounting law or related will be very beneficial.

Compliance is a very specialised role, and often can be industry specific depending on the financial institution’s clients. Compliance professionals often have to work closely with industry, and the relevant industry regulators, to ensure that everything is carried out with transparency and in accordance with regulations.

Reviewing terms and conditions and contracts, advising on advertising and similar, ensuring you are up to date with financial legislation and similar are but part of a compliance job description. Overseeing and checking accounts, and ensuring that taxes are filed correctly are also important parts of a compliance department

Compliance is a challenging and fast paced role, constantly changing. It is also seeing an increase due to increasing scrutiny. It is a very complex but very rewarding area to work in. Recruitment companies such as Randstad Financial & Professional inform, guide and assist candidates into this exciting field, see RandstadFP.com.

Due to the skills and specialist knowledge required, and mindset necessary, it is an ideal non- legal alternative career for a law graduate. The law graduate can use their legal knowledge and skills to good effect in a banking and corporate environment.

 

FOS Under Pressure as PPI Complaints Rise

July 6, 2013 by admin No Comments »

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has reported that complaints about mis sold payment protection insurance (PPI) have risen to unprecedented levels in the last year. The FOS dealt with over two million complaints about a range of financial products, with almost 400,000 of those relating to mis sold PPI. The figure of 2million amounts to 7000 per day, which simply confirms the sheer amount of pressure the FOS has come under thanks to the ongoing scandal. It managed to investigate half a million complaints during the period.

PPI Claims on the Rise

According to FOS figures almost 75% of all cases investigated in the year 2012-2013 related to mis sold PPI, an increase of more than 90% over the previous 12 months. The increase is put down to a variety of factors including the High Court ruling that banks must pay back wronged consumers, and increased consumer awareness of the right to claim PPI thanks to the ongoing media coverage. Online media in particular has been pushing the scandal, and there are no signs that the numbers of claims are likely to fall in the foreseeable future. Indeed, it may be that there are more to come, thanks to proposed changes to the claims procedure.

Talk of a Deadline

There is talk at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of a deadline for PPI claims, to be introduced at the request of some lenders from April, 2014. However, some lenders are wary of going down such a route, as they believe it will simply lead to an influx of further claims by people rushing to get theirs in before the deadline arrives. Such a situation could cause serious problems with lenders already feeling the pressure and needing to take on outside help to process PPI claims. It is not yet know if a deadline will be imposed.

The Benefits of Using a PPI Claim Company

Many commentators are advising that customers simply contact their bank to discuss a refund, yet there have been many instances of lenders stalling on payouts. This is why many consumers choose to use a PPI claim company to process their claim, as they find the expertise and know-how makes for a less stressful time during the claims process. The PPI saga is quite rightly referred to as the worst to hit the UK banking industry in history, and may yet run for years.

 

A Simple Way of Making a PPI Claim

November 1, 2012 by admin No Comments »

Everyone knows that making a PPI claim is a very tedious and straining task and you would not mind having a PPI claims company to help you out. However, you can actually do a claim on your own. It only takes a bit of time. But if you’re looking for a quick solution to multiple PPI claims, you’re better off working with a PPI claims company.

1. Your First Billing Statement.

When you pay your insurance to banks, you receive a billing statement to signify that you’ve made your proper payment to their service. This billing statement is important as it indicates the first time you paid for your insurance policy. Ensure that you keep this and your most recent billing statement to assess the total amount of compensation you might have.

2. Your Evidence

PPI is an insurance policy designed to repay your loans should you find it difficult to pay for insurance being sick or unemployed, but it can’t protect you if you are already sick, unemployed or self-employed and beyond the claiming age when you purchased the insurance. Have your birth certificate, last payslip, the last contract you signed (which indicates the date of your termination) and the last medical certificate from your most recent check-up.

3. The Manner You Are Mis Sold

The Financial Services Authority states that financial advisers are driven by a commission-based incentives system that is costing customers fair deals out of their financing. Most probably, a financial adviser presented the payment protection insurance to you in many ways. One might be to show you that the insurance policy was a requirement. They may also have presented the insurance policy as something to increase the chances of your loan success.

Remember, you are to be explained the terms and conditions of the insurance policy in full, and you cannot be required to purchase insurance as terms and conditions do not work with all people. If you can’t understand the terms and conditions of your policy, have a claims company help you out.

 

Consumer is Key to UK Revival

October 30, 2012 by admin No Comments »

The recent trumpeting of optimism by the government – the recession is over, so they say – has led to musings among writers on the economy. Can it really be over, or are we looking at exaggerated claims? A recent study by leading consumer groups has thrown up some interesting figures: while the year behind us saw a minute fall in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the forecast is for a rise of 1.2% over the next 12 months. While hardly stratospheric, such figures do instil a modicum of hope. However, there are warnings that come with the positive signs.

Trouble with Exports

Part of the problem in resuscitating the economy right now is that exports are hardly thriving: the USA is not a buoyant market and the Eurozone crisis is also problematic, hence economists are looking to the high street for help. It is doubtless the case that consumer spending needs to increase quite considerably if the economy is to achieve the proposed revival. With falling inflation, a better employment situation and a more solid basic economy there is a possibility that consumers will begin to spend again, but in truth there is considerable doubt that people are willing to go out and pour money into the shops.

Lending on the Rise

One of the major contributions to a boost to the economy is signified by increased lending; there is some indication that lenders are beginning to loosen up their purse strings, but not to a degree that is going to make any significant changes to the economy. However, recent moves to change the mortgage market, to make it more secure for both borrowers and lenders, have instilled some optimism in the financial markets. If the UK is to achieve the sort of changes forecast, it will need to rely on the consumer to a great extent.

 

Early Steps to Process Your PPI Claims Effectively

October 26, 2012 by admin No Comments »

How do you know if you’re mis sold PPI? This is the first question that any customer who thinks they are mis sold PPI should answer. PPI or payment protection insurance is designed to cover credit cards, loans and mortgages. Here are a few steps according to experts from www.PPIClaimCo.org to ensure that you can make your PPI claims effectively.

1. The Broker/ Financial Adviser/ Company Representative

Around 60% of most PPI claims in the United Kingdom were stated by claimants to be mis sold by the financial adviser, insurance broker or company representative. They can urge you that you need the insurance, only to find that you were ineligible for the insurance when you’re already paying for it. If they claimed to you that the insurance was free, or it was a requirement of the loan or that it could increase your chances of getting the loan, you could make a claim.

2. Review Your Personal Information

PPI protect the repayments of people who cannot fulfill repayments because of injuries, sicknesses or unemployment. To know if you’re indeed ineligible, it is best to review your personal information. Review your last employment date (if retired), get a recent medical check-up to see your medical status and if you ever had a checkup before signing up for the insurance and ensure that you bring evidences to prove your ineligibility.

3. Use a PPI Calculator

A PPI calculator can help you determine the amount of repayments you could get from a mis sold PPI. Most claims handling companies and their websites have this. You can inquire about it and learn about its use by calling the aid of claims experts.

4. Call a Claims Expert

As you’re calling a claims expert, it would be better to ask advice about your claim, especially if you’re processing multiple claims. This can take much time and effort and may not reap your expected results if you don’t give it the right amount of time to work with.